Shi’ite, Army clash: we want to avoid the repeat of Boko Haram – NSGF
By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna
The Northern State Governors Forum (NSGF) said following the Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shi’ite and Army clash in Zaria last week Saturday, it has to analyse and take measures to ensure the mistake made that resulted in the deadly Boko Haram is not repeated in the region and the country at large.
Speaking in Kaduna a while ago while declaring open the emergency meeting of the Forum called over the issue, the Chairman of the Forum and Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima said they were in no way comparing the Shi’ite sect to Boko Haram, but there is the need to be proactive and nip certain things in the bud.
The Chairman also explained that the Forum was not in Kaduna to do the job of the Kaduna State Government or because there is anything missing in the measures taken by the Kaduna State Government. “We are very confident in the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, his competence and character have never come under any doubt” he stressed.
“However, we are here in connection with what happened in Zaria, first because the issue has to do with an Islamic group that has membership across the nineteen States in the North and beyond. We want to look at how to ensure that the incident does not provide room for anyone or group to perpetuate violence in any of the 19 Northern States.
“We already have the serious problems of Boko Haram to contend with. We are not in any way comparing the Islamic Movement with Boko Haram; no. But we don’t want the same mistake that happened over the Boko Haram crisis to repeat itself. When Boko Haram went wild in July, 2009 with clashes between them and the Police in Bauchi on 25th and 26th in Maiduguri, most Nigerians saw the issues as the problems of Bauchi and Borno. When they continued to attack Borno and Yobe, it became the affairs of Borno and Yobe States. All of a sudden, there was suicide attack in Abuja in 2012 and then everything went out of control and we are where are today” he asserted.
“So, like I said, we do not make any comparison between the murderously violent Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic Movement. But we are here to analyze and ensure that we take measures that will close any avenue which some people may want to seize to create violence in the immediate or long run. Moreover, Kaduna is the socio-political heart of the Northern Nigeria. Kaduna is to us, what Lagos is to the South West. What affects Kaduna State invariably affects the whole North. If you notice, we make it a duty to travel to Kaduna to hold our meeting instead of holding it in Abuja. Kaduna is the headquarters of the Northern Nigeria but it will have that significance if we accord it the relevance it deserves. We have a duty to preserve history and our values by coming here” he added.
Shettima said the meeting will be briefed by Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
On the Zaria incident and they will compare thoughts analytically and extensively. He said they will also look at any other matters that affect the well being of the north and they shall brief the media on issues that they don’t consider too security sensitive to make public.
He explained further that soon after the Zaria crisis, El-Rufai was at the scene and he spoke with leader of the Islamic Movement; Sheik Ibraheem Yaqub El Zakzaky and met the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Kaduna State Government he said, took some firm, far reaching measures it considers necessary. “Malam El-Rufai is the man on ground, he knows the subject matter more than us and he knows the steps he deems most suitable after his extensive consultations. So, we are not here to do his job” he stressed.
In attendance are Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Jigawa and Kebbi States. Other states were represented.